THE BITEThere’s something wrong with my internal food calendar. I always seem to crave a food item when it’s not “in season.” I like pot roast in the heat of August. I often grill fish when it’s snowing outside. Maybe it’s my inner rebel gourmand; he likes to buck the system and today was no exception. Today, I was craving latkes.

For those of you who don’t know, a latke is a fried potato pancake. Traditionally, latkes are eaten during the feast of Hanukkah by the Jewish people. Me, I’m a goyim. So, I’m not tied to the tradition. Where I grew up we called these potato pancakes and weren’t taught about the holiday connection. I can eat potato pancakes without guilt any time of year and I suspect most of my Jewish friends do too. And so should you.

Homemade potato pancakes are one of the great foodstuffs of the world. But, they don’t translate well for mass production. When you make a latke at home, the potatoes are first grated and squeezed dry. Then they are mixed with egg, sometimes grated onion and just enough flour to hold them together. Sounds simple right? It is, but there’s a catch. Leave the raw potatoes exposed to the air and they’ll turn black. It’s not going to hurt you, but it’s not pretty either.

This is why most commercial establishments have come up with recipes that are heavy on the flour and light on the potato which usually results in a thick, almost leaden pancake that bears little resemblance to home made. Not so at Jay and Lloyd’s.

For $4.95, Jay and Lloyd’s (2718 Avenue U) serves up three “baby” potato pancakes with apple sauce optional and on the side. These are on the “Nosh” section of the menu and frankly are superior to the regular potato pancake ($3.95) offered under  ”Hot Dogs and Knishes.”

Why’s that? I’m not exactly sure. I’m pretty sure that both versions share the same dough, but the “baby” versions have a better crust to filling ratio. These pancakes were about 2.5″ in diameter and about 3/4″ thick.  Fried to a crispy golden brown exterior, the filling remained light while the entire cake was almost grease free. The crispy crust contrasted nicely with the soft filling. These are probably some of the best store-bought potato pancakes I’ve ever had.

Jay and Lloyd’s Kosher Deli, 2718 Avenue U, (718) 891-5298.

The Bite is Sheepshead Bites’ weekly column where we explore the foodstuffs of Sheepshead Bay. Each week we check out a different offering from one of the many restaurants, delis, food carts, bakeries, butchers, fish mongers, or grocers in our neighborhood. If it’s edible, we’ll take a bite.

Jay & Lloyd's Kosher Deli on Urbanspoon

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  • otherdeb

    Love Jay & Lloyd’s in general, but this sounds like a good reason to drop in.

  • http://www.sheepsheadbites.com/ Ned Berke

    “I can eat potato pancakes without guilt any time of year and I suspect most of my Jewish friends do too.” Excuse me, friend, but we Jews don’t do ANYTHING without guilt! ;)Also…. OH MY GOD GIVE ME GIVE ME NOW OM NOM NOM.Good day.

  • vintagejames

    Great food there. But the trouble with the latkes is that they cannot serve dairy. Hence, no sour cream. Just slip in your own, and you might as well take in some chopped chives also.

    • otherdeb

      Boy, I hope you are either kidding or not Jewish.  They could lose their kosher status if you did that.

      • vintagejames

        Their kosher status is of no concern to me. I just know how I like my latkes. They are open on Saturday anyway, so they aren’t really kosher.

        • Tinman

          What a schlemiel!
          The kosher status IS a big concern to them. 
          Leave the sour cream home, take the latkes.

          • otherdeb

            Not only to them, but to many of their customers.

        • otherdeb

          Further, while they would not be there on Saturdays, as long as their staff is not Jewish, the staff can be, although it’s generally not done.

          • vintagejames

            If it is open on Saturday, the meat loses its kosher status, regardless of religious beliefs of the workers.

  • Barkingspider07

    Sour cream is for blintzes, not latkes  -  always applesauce with latkes.  I grew up with a friend whoi was raised in an Orthodox home (I’m Christian, and I was and still am more Jewish than she is).  Her mom never served sour cream with latkes, and believe me, we ate a whole lot of them!

    • otherdeb

      Latkes can be eaten with either sour cream, applesauce, or both (my family used both).

    • nolastname

      My Grandmother was Polish, we use apple sauce and sour cream. We just called the potato pancakes. 
      Some blintzes I like with honey and a strong cup of coffee.
      But trust me if someone puts any of the afore mentioned in front of me it will not go to waste…..well maybe my waist. LOL

      • Barkingspider07

        blintzes with honey?  Never had it, but it does sound delicious.  I made cheese blintzes the other night, and instead of applesauce, I made a relish out of fresh apples and cranberries.  It was delicious.  The apples were still crunchy and sweet, and the cranberries tart. 

        • nolastname

          Sounds delicious. Maybe throw in some wall nuts and raisins for more texture.
          On an apple or blueberry blintz OMG. 

  • doobieman

    I like them with applesause & ketchup, My grandmother made them just right.

  • Tinman

    Jay & Lloyds survives after closing of other SB delis. 
    The food is very good and, even though you can’t eat atmosphere, that’s pretty good, too!. 

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